Category A: First Place (2020) Monash Short Story Writing Competition
Author: Alice Choi
Title: As they leave me
There were four of us.
We whispered our names into the darkness, because it was the only thing we had.
Erin. Aris. Ivy. Mira.
Erin, the child who loved bubble-gum and mangoes, swings and summers, and everything fun. Eri the child, we would joke, and you would pout; we all envied you for being so carefree and innocent - Rinny, you would call yourself, and then you were E - when we ceased to talk.
Erin, Eri, Rinny, E – and now we mouth out the letter E – as if we were smiling bright, like you always did, like you were always expected to.
Carefree, sunshiny, childish Erin.
It’s all a farce.
The world has shattered, and you have shattered alongside it.
There are three of us.
We write our names - pitiful signatures - on everything we can. Desperate to be remembered, so if anyone asks, “Who are you?”
Aris. Mira. Ivy.
Aris, the one who loved books and violin, Aris, who was a big sister to us – Sissy, the shy, soft-spoken-yet-firm caretaker - the one we all ran to when we cried, the one who worked hard with her head down.
Ari, when we needed a hug, and A – when we ceased to talk.
Aris, Ari, and A – who was never fond of nicknames but didn’t mind as long as we were happy, and now we scrawl your name, ARIS, into every possible surface, with the care and patience you taught us.
Caring, gentle Aris who could lessen our burdens.
Why didn’t you complain?
The world has shattered, and you have bled from the shards.
There will be one of us.
We tap our names if we can, too tired from screaming-sobbing-whispering-writing.